Local Bike Rides

The photograph depicts a bike trail road sign in green and white against a blurry background of yellow fall leaves.  The bike is beneath a green arrow pointing to the right.

By Eric L.

Autumn is wonderful time, and it’s my favorite. I always enjoy how the humidity fades and cooler air takes its place. As my bio reads, I do really enjoy being outside in nature. Numerous studies show that it is healthful just to be outside.  

I’d recommend that if you’re able, get out there on a bike. Maybe you have a neglected one around the house, or could borrow one to try it out. You do not need an expensive bike and spandex to have fun – just a bike, a helmet, and some comfortable clothing. Start slow, just take a short ride around your neighborhood away from traffic.  

Speaking with people at bike shops, I’ve discovered they’re short on bikes to sell and appointments for repairs and maintenance. Therefore, I’d encourage you to watch this short video I made for the library about how to perform some simple maintenance and change a flat tire. You can borrow, via contactless pickup, a bike tool kit, a pump, and even a professional bike repair stand at the DIY Education Center at HCLS Elkridge Branch.  

After that, you can do a quick internet search on all the great spots to cycle in the Baltimore metro area. I’ll give you a few of the ones I like, all of which provide a nice scenic autumn ride. Find a friend (I think biking is more fun with company), but you may want to avoid any tandem bikes as a beginner and with social distancing guidelines. 

The BWI loop is a paved trail that essentially goes around the airport; it’s about 12.5 miles and does have some hills. It has a nice playground on the loop, if you’re with little ones and an observation area to watch planes.  

The B&A Trail, connected to the BWI loop, is a smooth, fully paved trail which goes all the way to Annapolis. It’s a very pleasant ride, and you need not do the entire thing, just whatever is in your comfort range. There are numerous spots where people get on and off the trail.  

The Grist Mill trail in the Avalon area of the Patapsco Valley State Park was closed for long period of time, but is open (as of now) and is a very smooth and scenic ride. It passes by a swinging bridge and where the Bloede dam was removed (which I find pretty cool to view). What’s more, if you’re more adventurous, the Patapsco Valley State Park has miles of great trails for mountain biking. To be sure, it’s not for beginners (the DIY center can lend you trekking poles if you’d prefer to take a nice long walk to see the park instead). 

My personal favorite of late is the NCR trail, which begins in Timonium and goes all the way to York, PA. This trail is mostly gravel and thus requires a hybrid, mountain, or basically a bike with anything other than super skinny “road” tires. I ride it frequently from Monkton Station to New Freedom, PA. The NCR is slightly uphill (you don’t even notice at times) heading north and thus a slight downhill on the return south. 

You will encounter some folks, as these trails are more popular than in previous years with many looking for socially distanced activities, especially on the weekend. But don’t be intimidated, just let those riding fast pass on by, and stay on your side of the trail. And again, keep in mind to just have a good time and enjoy the beautiful season! 

Eric is a DIY Instructor and Research Specialist at the Elkridge branch. He enjoys reading, films, music, doing nearly anything outside, and people.

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